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Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes ahead of first start in Green Bay: 'If you love football, you love Lambeau Field'

There's not an abundance of firsts remaining in Patrick Mahomes' already-illustrious career, but Sunday's game against the Packers will mark something new.

When Mahomes and the Chiefs take on Green Bay in prime time, the two-time Most Valuable Player will be making first-ever start at Lambeau Field.

"I'm extremely excited for it," he said this week, per the team transcript. "I've watched it my whole entire life, and I know it's going to be a hostile environment; the fans are going to be loud, it's going to be a lot like GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is to other teams.

"If you love football, you love Lambeau Field."

Although his trek into the Frozen Tundra will be his first, he is unique in having prior regular-season experience facing off against his Packers counterpart, Jordan Love, before the Green Bay signal-caller rose to QB1.

Despite playing the Packers twice before, Mahomes never took snaps opposite Aaron Rodgers. He was injured for the teams' 2019 meeting, a Green Bay victory, and Rodgers was out due to COVID-19 protocols in 2021 -- Love's only career start before this year.

In that matchup Love was overmatched and unprepared for a blitz-happy Chiefs defense. He threw for 190 yards on 19-of-34 passing and didn't lead a scoring drive until late in the fourth quarter.

He's had similar outings this season, but he's also shown flashes of the quarterback Green Bay is hoping for -- especially in the last two weeks, where he's gone 49 of 72 (68%) for 590 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in two wins to get the Packers back in the wild-card picture.

Those strides have not gone unnoticed by Mahomes.

"Jordan has gotten better and better every single game," he said. "He's always had the talent, but when you get more and more reps -- I mean he didn't play for three years basically -- so he's gotten more and more reps, you can see how much more comfortable he's getting."

And the way Love and the Packers are playing changes the perception of this game slightly for the Chiefs compared to the breather it might have looked like on the schedule a number of weeks ago.

Kansas City sits at 8-3 with more experience and top-tier talent, but it has flaws, and every single AFC division leader enters December with the same number of losses in the race for the conference's No. 1 seed.

The Chiefs now head into hostile territory against a hot team, and they don't have any wiggle room to fall back into old habits and allow Green Bay to keep streaking.

Before last week, when the Chiefs put up 17 second-half points to vanquish the Raiders, Kansas City hadn't logged a post-halftime score since Week 7.

For Mahomes to leave his first start at Lambeau with a win, he'll likely need to avoid starting a new stretch of offensive futility on Sunday. It also wouldn't hurt if the Chiefs' third-ranked scoring defense cools off Love.

"They have playmakers everywhere, and their defense can play," Mahomes said. "They've got a lot of guys that can play football. It will be a great challenge for us, and they're a hot football team that just beat another great football team so they have confidence coming in. We've got to match that confidence and try to find a way to win a football game."

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